NHL team Minnesota Wild has teamed up with tournament organiser FACEIT to launch its inaugural esports event, the 2019 Wild Gaming Tournament.
The NHL 19 competition, presented by the Mall of America, will comprise of online qualifiers that lead to a final, offline event.
Firstly, a single elimination event will take place online, on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, over February 2nd-3rd. The top two players from each of the two qualifiers will make it to the finals in Rotunda at the Mall of America on February 18th.
Jamie Spencer, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Minnesota Wild commented: “We are thrilled to launch our official NHL gaming tournament with great partners such as FACEIT and Mall of America. The esports gaming community is incredibly unique. With this tournament, we hope to create a sports fan experience unlike any other.”
The finals will comprise of best-of-three matches with a total prize pool of $7,400 (£5,624.96). It’ll be broadcast live on Minnesota Wild’s Twitch channel and run alongside a pro-am tournament where members of public in the mall can compete against Minnesota Wild players.
Michele Attisani, Co-founder and CBO of FACEIT also discussed the event: “The crossover between esports and sports is huge and it’s fantastic to work with a mainstream sports brand who recognizes that and sees that same exciting opportunities that we do. Esports fans are multi-generational and we view esports as an evolution of traditional entertainment. Games such as NHL 19 are a great way to illustrate this. They offer a low barrier to entry and go a long way towards taking esports mainstream. We’re excited to see how the public reacts to the tournament. For many people this will be a first and being able to educate more people on the scale of the industry is fantastic.”
Esports Insider says: It’s cool to see a sports club provide an opportunity for players to gain some attention at a local level, as well as using the tournament as a means to provide some fan interaction between fans and its players.